The USPTO is now using series code 13 for patent application serial numbers assigned from the end of 2010 forward. The first application in the series, 13/000,001, was published on May 26, 2011 (2011/0121738A1). Series code 12 was in use from December 2007 to early 2011.
In 2011 the USPTO issued 225,777 patents and published 321,181 applications for a total of 568,577 patent documents, a 1.5 percent decrease from 2010. The USPTO has published approximately 2.9 million utility and plant patent applications since March 15, 2001. Published applications now account for about 30 percent of all U.S. patent documents.
On August 16, 2011, the USPTO issued patent 8,000,000 to Second Sight Medical Products for a visual prosthesis apparatus. Patent 7,000,000 was issued on Feb. 14, 2006. The time interval between "millionth" patents has decreased to 5.5 years.
The USPTO has updated its homepage, the first major redesign in more than five years. The new design is modern and eye-catching. Unfortunately, the search interface of the USPTO patent database looks like it did in 1999.
Applications for patents and other forms of IP rebounded strongly in 2010, so says a new report from WIPO.
Inventors and companies filed 1.98 million patent applications worldwide in 2010, a new record. China and the U.S. accounted for about 80 percent of the growth. Canada experienced a slight decline of 5.1 percent; however, residents of Canada filed more than 80 percent of their patent applications in other countries.
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.